Episode 346: A Holistic Approach to Success With Tamara Fields, Office Managing Director for Accenture

Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com, as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Episode 346: A Holistic Approach to Success With Tamara Fields, Office Managing Director for Accenture

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:26.24] Welcome to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. As HR leaders, we spend an awful lot of time wondering what our executives really want. Well, in this interview, I’m going right to the source, and I’m giving you all the juicy details. Today we’re talking to Tamara Fields. She’s the Office Managing Director for Accenture in Austin, Texas. Tamara is responsible for bringing innovation to clients, recruiting and retaining top talent, and strengthening Accenture’s impact in the Austin community. As a business veteran with more than two decades of cross-industry multilateral project management experience, Tamara helps better serve clients with creative, strategic, and transformative solutions. Passionate about promoting an inclusive and diverse workplace, Tamara serves as the US co-lead for Accenture’s Women’s Employee Resource Group. Tamara, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Tamara Fields: [00:01:22.82] Well, thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. I think it’s so important for us to have platforms and forums where we’re able to really talk about how we can serve each other and make our work environments better.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:35.09] Absolutely. I want to talk a little bit about your background and your career trajectory with Accenture. You’ve had lots of accolades and I’ll link to your LinkedIn profile and the podcast show notes, but I’m just interested and I want our audience to know how your career has grown.

Tamara Fields: [00:01:51.83] Yeah, absolutely. It’s so interesting. I mean, I think if you had asked me many years ago, I wouldn’t have expected that I would have still been at Accenture. I’ve been at Accenture, I hit 24 years this past summer, which is really hard to believe. I came straight out of college and I really had a very varied and interesting career journey. So, you know, I never thought I’d be working in consulting and certainly not in the technology field. I was a marketing major, but I came in and, you know, I thought I would work for a few years, graduate, go back to law school and go do that. But I ended up really liking it and I think it’s because it allowed for me to, to leverage several aspects of my skill set. But when I think about my career, right? You know, I started off just like everyone entry-level analyst level, coming in on a project. And when I first started, I code it, which is really hard for me to believe. And through that process, it really leaned in to my leadership skills, my team-building skills. I really got interested in what it means to build inclusive culture and inclusive teams because I was the only one that looked like me, you know, and through that process was, you know, surprisingly good at coding. That led me to get into functional design work, and then from there, I led a development team and I moved in to kind of the business strategy side of our, our software development.

Tamara Fields: [00:03:10.70] I’ve always worked in financial back-office, HR back-office, solutions and capabilities, and, you know, just that skill area really helped me to expand. And I’ve worked in multiple industry groups from oil and gas to really like high tech firms, even, with NASA even, which is interesting. And then I moved into federal and defense and I think that’s really where my career started to take off, where I was able to have a sponsor that really helped me expand my career and manage very large, complex transformational programs. And that allowed me to expand to get to the Senior Manager level. And then I think when you make that big jump from Senior Manager to what we call Managing Director, equivalent of a Partner, that was about, oh, probably 11 or 12 years ago in my career. That was a very interesting jump for me. Very hard to expand and change and, and think about how you move into executive leadership.

Tamara Fields: [00:04:09.50] But I had a sponsor. I was able, I was, you know, was able to sell some important pieces of work at the same time delivering a very important project at scale. And that really created the foundation for me to move into our executive leadership as Managing Director. And since then, my career has continued to take off, and I’m thankful for that. I switched out of our federal business into our health and public service business as part of our Accenture LLP. And, you know, been, was offered the role to take over our Austin office, which is great. And then when we did our reorganization, I was offered the role of our Director of Operations equivalent to a COO for our self-marketing. And so I’ve had a lot of fits and starts in my career and we can talk about some of those ups and downs that we all encounter. But I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had good sponsorship, good mentorship. I think I had strong drive and I just kind of had, you know, those right pivotal moments where I was seeking something else, an opportunity came that allowed me to expand my career.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:11.76] I love hearing from people with different career paths and trajectories because it’s just really fascinating to me. And while your job isn’t an HR professional, you’re leading and, and supporting clients, leading a team, but you have had experience all over the board in, in technology and all these different industries. So it’s just really, I think interesting to me.

Tamara Fields: [00:05:36.99] Yeah. I mean, I manage a lot of people. I’m responsible for hiring in all of my project teams. So because I had to build those teams, so I did internal and external sourcing for those teams and you know, so very familiar with that. And then obviously as a COO, I manage a profit and loss, right? So I manage a PNL and so I’m accountable to, you know, how we hire, how I think about hiring, how many people we hire. And I work very closely with our, our HR lead as part of that process for how we, you know, are going to be enabled and have the right skills to serve our clients at the right balance and managing kind of our, you know, our, our cost revenue perspective. So I think, you know, it’s interesting. So I think, you know, when I was running programs and running really large, complex projects, it’s really important on how you build teams, how you bring that team together, the morale of that team impacts their delivery. Creating high-performance teams is something that you have to be intentional about. How we had to hire for that, how we had to build skills, you know, skill gaps and, and work through our organization to do that. And that was really helpful to me as I moved into, you know, my director operations or I’m responsible for full scale out for our South geographic area around how we think about our people, how we grow our people, how we expand our people, and how we do that in concert with, you know, the services that we offer.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:57.60] I love this. I want every HR leader send this interview over to your COO and say, Hey, this is this part right here. I want every COO to think about their team. And in this way I love it. I mean, you can still think and look at your PNL, but it’s on, it’s on us as organizational leaders to be able to think about how to grow, scale, and support our teams so that we can grow our businesses.

Tamara Fields: [00:07:26.70] I think so. I think that’s what’s the shift that I’ve seen that I think is exciting, right? I think if you think about, you know, 15 years ago, I think things were much more black and white for companies in terms of how they evaluated success, but from a people and a PNL perspective. But I think today we’re much more holistic, right? We at Accenture embrace, you know, 360 value and 360 value, we have broken down on all these different segments. And one of the, one of those segments that lead into that 360 View is our people. Our people are exceptionally important to us. And, and how we think about them, how we think about engagement with them is essential to our success. So it’s not just about the rewards for our people. It’s about how our people feel. Do they have a sense of belonging? Do they feel seen? Do they feel connected? Do they feel heard? And we have to balance that also with the skills that they have, the skills we need to grow in them. And we’ve got to recognize that that’s an investment we as a company have to make and that investment is going to pay off back to us in terms of the quality of people that we get, the quality of capabilities that they deliver, and what we have found engage people deliver better, engage people deliver more. And all of that is going to set us up for success in how we deliver to our clients. And so it’s recognizing that intersectionality and the importance of how we all show up together to deliver to a final result, right? There is no one view. It’s all about that holistic 360 view.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:56.58] I want to talk a little bit about how expectations have, have changed really maybe since the pandemic, both from the inside and the, and the outside of the organization. What does that look like for, for you?

Tamara Fields: [00:09:14.14] Yeah. You know, I think what’s interesting for us is where our technology consulting firm in the sense that, you know, of course, we serve all things beyond even technology because we provide strategic consulting. But I focus on the technology side for a second because I think we already understood what it meant to work virtually. We just didn’t do it at 100%. And so I think the transition for us to move virtually wasn’t so hard as it was for other companies, because we, we already knew how to do that. We can enable that quickly. We have the infrastructure to do that. I think what was different for us was how do you maintain connection with your people when you move to 100% virtual engagement? How do you maintain connection with your clients when you move to kind of 100% virtual engagement? And how do you really make sure that we’re still dealing with the whole person and hearing what is important to them and not just being caught up with 12 hour a day meetings back to back. And I think that, you know, this period of disruption from the last two years of COVID and even the social unrest that we’ve all had to deal with at companies helped us understand that we had to deal with the holistic human being, right? We had to really embrace this concept that we had already embraced being truly human and how do we show up for each other. But connection became the key for us and how do we think about engagement differently so that people feel that they’re feeling connected to an organization and a sense of belonging.

Tamara Fields: [00:10:36.64] We had people hired, a large amount of people hired who had not met one person in person. It’s harder to build teams. We are a team-based culture, a team-based delivery model, and so is really saying, Hey everyone, we need to take a time out and think about how do I show up here in Austin? So in Austin, for example, we started a very deliberate wellness program. We started providing Pilates and hit classes during the day so people could take a lunch break and, and just connect through exercise. We, we really promoted the peloton group. We started, you know, all of these things that ways that people could feel a sense of connection and relate it to their wellbeing. You know, we really started promoting leveraging some of the apps that we offer nationally like the karma and we’d have, you know, meditation moments, right? We rolled out in the South as part of my, you know, operations role, right? We did a definitive culture exercise rollout during COVID. And, and it was this we dare concept. We dare to grow, learn and lead, right? So, and, and it was about how do we embrace each other? So it’s like we created these pillars to do things differently, to operate with our owners mindset, to be your authentic self.

Tamara Fields: [00:11:50.86] And we would talk about how to expand that culture every day. So we’d start meetings with a culture moment or in, with a culture moment. We did, we created culture champions and we had competitions between teams and all of it was about ways to create synergies. So yes, we had the virtual happy hours and the virtual karaoke and the cooking classes and the painting classes. We did all that, of course, but I think what was really impossible for us was this cultural rollout that we then took down to each of our city locations and in our cities, really embraced, right? So we created a dare statement for Austin and dare to, you know, we dare to innovate and be the center of innovation in Austin for our people. And it was just I think that really changed the way we engage with each other, saw each other, showed up for each other. And I think COVID created that opportunity because it helped us understand that we’ve got to think about the holistic person and that, you know, we as individuals are being impacted by our external environment. And even just the isolation of the virtual illness is a lie and we need people. And so that was one of the things that I think, you know, that sense of connection, that need for connection, being intentional around creating connection. So again that our people are seeing safe, connected, and feeling courageous was important. We really focused in on experiences.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:12.43] I love it. I just even the exercise and the meditation like these are small things that can really make a difference. And I will say as someone who has anxiety and battled depression, like a lot of times you don’t even know you’re in it. You have no idea that you are in that moment and need that support. So having opportunities like this with, through your employer, you can explore and build some relationships and then maybe have some more self-awareness. We’re like, Oh man, that, I’m not good right now. And then they can seek out the more support and resources they need.

Tamara Fields: [00:13:52.87] Yeah, it’s interesting you say that. I love when you just made the statement like I’m not good right now. I think we as leaders, it’s so important that we show up on the call and show that everything is not perfect. You know, when I, you know, for, you know, I’m single, I don’t have kids and my family and my friends are exceptionally important to me. But so is my routine. Just like, you know, I have a workout class that I went to every Wednesday and I saw these wonderful ladies and they really encouraged and strengthened me. And we’ve been doing this class for years. And, you know, during COVID, all that got shut down. And so what I realized is I just ended up working a lot. I was working all the time. And I remember like in August, right after, you know, that shutdown period, I just remember thinking to myself, I am not happy. Like, I feel frustrated. I feel short-tempered. Like, what is going on? And I just had to stop and recognize that all my boundaries that I had set, my rules of engagement, all got corrected during COVID. You know, all these things that I normally put in my schedule to break me up and keep me, you know, working out and see, you know, all of those got corrected because I was just like working 12 hours a day and I was unhappy and I was definitely leading toward depression. And that was coming out in terms of just agitation and just, you know, fatigue and just unhappiness.

Tamara Fields: [00:15:10.30] And so I was like, Stop. Tamara, this is not who you are. You need to put some things back in place. And so I put my boundaries like I’m not working on the weekends. I need to shut this down. During the week I started scheduling walks with my mom twice a week. I had one this morning and, you know, started a call right at tell her and she’s like, Well, sounds like you’re walking. It’s like I’m finishing a walk with my mom and I’ll be right with you in just a second. You know, I started very safely with those who I knew I could trust and, you know, walking outside with them. And I just either put some things back in place to remind myself that my life is so much more than work and that I work to serve my life. And I needed to share that with people. And it was amazing the response I got from my teams and the people who work for me on feeling the same. And so we just all started collaborating and recognizing. We were tired, we were fatigued and we need to put these boundaries back in place. We need to take bio breaks in the middle of the day and not have stack meetings. And so I think it’s important as leaders that we show up and share our own struggles.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:10.63] I love that and I love that you’re so transparent and open about it. And I think that it goes a long way in terms of allowing others to, on your team to have a moment or to ask for help or to be able to, to have those, those boundaries and get the support that they need. One of the things I also wanted to chat with you about is the kind of conversation our audience is primarily HR leaders, and they’re very interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. I wanted to ask if you could tell us more about your involvement in Company ERGs and how you got started?

Tamara Fields: [00:16:49.99] Yeah, absolutely. I’m really active in all things related to inclusion, diversity, and equity in my company because I’m very passionate about it. I mean, I’m an African American woman. I’m sure that you can imagine that on many of my teams throughout my career, I was the only one that looked like me, both from a gender and ethnicity perspective. So I’m very sensitive to inclusion. I’m very sensitive to everyone feeling like they have a voice at the table. You know, I’m very active in ERGs. I believe in them wholeheartedly, and I think they have become essential to the well-being of companies. And if you don’t have one, you need to establish them and really expand, lean into them and invest in them and really help the people who are running them from, you know, as a volunteerism point of view, feel valued for it. And that’s one of the things we’ve been really doing at my company. But I started very young and the original, originally I was very active in the African American Employee Resource Group, and I needed that because I needed some community because there just wasn’t really that many of us in the company. And I needed to feel like I had someone that had a shared experience and understand the things that I felt like I face as an individual, as a black female, the insecurities that I had to deal with in feeling like the token or people judging me automatically in terms of my intelligence level or, or making comments to me like, Oh, I was just really surprised you did a great job and you learned so quickly. Well, why wouldn’t I learn quickly? Right?

Tamara Fields: [00:18:11.23] So these are things like, you know, these, these struggles that I, that I face. And so the ERG provided a place for me initially to feel comfort and to have shared experiences and to be able to talk transparently, transparently with people about what I was facing, hearing what they’re facing, and how they dealt with it. And so it gave me a sense of comfort. Over time and as I continue to kind of grow up and move into leadership levels within the company, I recognized that I wanted to do the same within the ERG. And so, you know, I sought more active roles and, and got aligned to our North American Inclusion Diversity team, our funded team. And so I started supporting our trainings that we do for specific populations, leaderships for women. We do, you know, we have a program that we do for our women, their mid-level career and next-level career and really started participating in those events and really understood the value of paying it forward and sharing my story so that others can learn from that and, and hearing their stories and offering advice. And so I got really active into mentorship.

Tamara Fields: [00:19:14.79] I started doing it, becoming the executive sponsor for some of our partnerships with Fairygodboss and Society of Women Engineers and all of that. And so then I decided that I had a real passion for women, and I really wanted to see women expand in, in the workplace and expand in leadership. And I was like, I can do that within the ERG. So I jumped in and volunteered to be the sponsor, the executive sponsor for our Women Employee Resource Group here for the US for Accenture. And I’m proud to say this year we just hit over 10,000 members in our organizations. I’m very proud of that. And it was a real opportunity for me to create a landscape to help control the programming we put out there, put real programming that was going to real impact for people, and have real talk. And talk about the things that we as women face from managing our household, managing children, you know, the burden that we carry around not to menopause, to elder care, to everything under the sun. And it was really, really empowering. And what I saw in the last couple of years is that ERGs became essential to the well-being of a company. It creates it further expands the culture. It helps, it helps companies understand and provide a different avenue for them to hear from their people and understand where they’re thinking and what’s important for them.

 

Tamara Fields: [00:20:34.53] It’s a place for you to do building bridges cause, that’s what we call them when we’re really faced with, you know, hard conversations like what happened with the social unrest with George Floyd, we were able to be building calls with AA ERG. We were able to do joint calls. And so I think ERGs are important for giving voice to employees, to leadership. They’re important for community, they’re important for network, they’re important for shared experience, they’re important to culture. And I think they really help a company deal with the whole person. And so I think it’s important that the company value them, that the company helped fund them, that the company helped undergird them. And we’ve made a lot of efforts in doing that. We have an entire technology system that undergirds our ERGs, that promote events. And, you know, we have all sorts of kind of like a Facebook Yammer page for them. We have all sorts of cool things. And I just think that ERGs are essential to our well-being. We have a theme for our ERG this year Lift as you climb and we do quarterly sub-themes. So our, our second quarter sub-theme is “Lift up yourself” and we’re anchoring it in the quote from Mary Church Terrell. And so again I think the ERG is they just have so much power to really lift each other up and I think they’re important.

Break: [00:21:48.60] Let’s take a reset. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you are listening to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. I am getting to the heart of it. We are getting all the juicy details about what executives want. Today. I’m talking with Tamara Fields. She’s the office managing director for Accenture.

Break: [00:22:07.65] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access live training, community, and over 100 on-demand courses for the dynamic Leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.

Servant Leadership for Employee Engagement

 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:23.40] I feel like we’re jumping everywhere into different conversations and topics, but there is so many nuggets of wisdom. We had a prep call and I want to make sure we grab as many as we can along the way. So let’s jump to employee engagement. What are our leaders missing today that they could be putting into practice to set an example for their employees?

Tamara Fields: [00:22:45.57] Yeah. You know, what I would say around engagement is we as leaders need to become servant leaders. I really believe in servant leadership. And I think servant leadership is a path to engagement. I think leaders are, their goal should be to inspire, to activate new ways of working, new ways of thinking, right? And I think it’s important that they show up and do that by operating and exemplifying humility, compassion, and caring for, for the people that they are leading, right? It’s about how do you show up for the people that you lead. You need to care about them. And I think today, you know, leaders, sometimes we think it’s, it’s all about directives. It’s all about just setting the goal. But it’s more than that. It’s more about how you really encourage, motivate and how you incite, right? Innovative thinking and thought, and allow your teams to really deposit into each other and into you. And so I think that when leaders can inspire with servant leadership, and I believe heavily in servant leadership, and I think there’s a lot of really cool books out there about how leaders can operate with vulnerability, like Dare to Lead by Dr. Brené Brown. And she has a new book out as well that I think is, is very impactful. I think that leaders will have the most success.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:05.64] One of the things that we also talked about on our prep call was being comfortable being uncomfortable. So I wanted to ask you, what does being comfortable with discomfort look like for you?

Tamara Fields: [00:24:18.89] Yeah, I think it’s about being courageous to talk about those things that are hard to talk about, and I’ll share my own personal experience when all of the social unrest with George Floyd happened, right? That was very uncomfortable for me, it was very painful for me as an African American in this community. And at the time, you know, I grew up in the old school way initially where, you know, you didn’t talk about politics or social unrest or things like that at work, right? You kept all of those things separate. And so, you know, that was a major shift in that, that companies are being asked by their employees to address a point of view or operate or provide calls where people could talk about how they’re feeling. And so, you know, I had a choice to make for our Austin office, and I decided that we needed to do a town hall. And I decided that we were going to do a town hall on standing against racism. And I felt very you know, I felt comfortable with making that decision, but I did not feel comfortable with was telling my story. And, you know, I was doing a prep call with one of our HR leads, one, a mentor and a friend of mine. And, you know, during that call, she’s someone I had known for several years and I decided to share one of my experiences and it was really hard for me. I did not want to do that because again, I was raised with you don’t make people uncomfortable.

Tamara Fields: [00:25:35.76] Yes, that’s your pain. You share that with me at home. You don’t share that at work. And so I kind of had this you know, you put that, I compartmentalize that. And I just wasn’t used to talking about these experiences. And so I shared an experience and she made a comment to me. She said, Tam, I’m really upset. I’m like, What’s going on? And she’s like, I have known you for like 20 years and not once did I know any of this about you. Not once. I think we’re good friends. And I just realized how I had not shared a big part of who I am, my experiences, my life, my history with someone who I valued and was a good friend. And I thought, wow. And it was very impactful to me. And it helped me understand I needed to show up on this call and share, share a personal story, be vulnerable. And it took a lot of courage because I don’t like doing that. I don’t like being vulnerable in that way. I feel like that’s my pain and it’s personal and it’s uncomfortable for me to share that. But I had to be comfortable being uncomfortable and know that people needed to hear this story because it was going to help them understand and it can enlighten them and maybe move us all forward together just a little inch, inch at a time.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:26:44.63] I love that. And it’s not your responsibility to, like, you don’t, you chose to do that. And I think that it was so impactful for, for that reason. And we all are learning and growing. I’m looking for resources and information to improve myself every day. And I like to think most of our employees are the same way. But we need to hear other people’s perspectives and experiences so we can better understand what it’s like for, for different people. And it different in terms of the neighbor living down the street or someone who’s halfway across the world.

Tamara Fields: [00:27:24.41] Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, one like I told you and I mentioned when we were talking about ERGs, with my team, we jointly pick this theme, you know, Lift as you climb. And it was based on the quote by Mary Church Terrell, and I’m going to read it for you because I think it’s important to how we think about being how we should come together. And so the quote reads: “And so lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ‘ere long.” And I really like this quote because I like this concept that it’s onward and upward. That’s where we’re at with COVID. It’s struggling and striving, right? And just the hope that what is important to us and what we desire will happen. And I think that when you can think about that, it will help you to be courageous because you know that we’re in it together, we’re struggling together, we’re striving together. And our goal is to be successful together as teams. And I think if we can do that from a place of lifting each other up, as we do that, we’ll have greater success.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:35.90] What does the great realignment mean to you and the shift maybe that in terms of how we define our own career success?

Tamara Fields: [00:28:45.35] Yeah, I think what’s different now is I think, if I think about my mother’s baby boomer generation, she thinks a lot of what people talk about today are crazy because she’ll say that, you know, you just need to be happy to have a job or like your goal is to gain money and to support your family. But I think today we want to absolutely do that., right? We want to have a job, we want to work, we want to serve. But we also want to feel passion for what we do. And I think that what COVID did is cause people to take a moment to pause. And pausing is a good thing, take a deep breath and think about, do you like what you’re doing? And you’re never going 100% like everything because there’s no perfect job. But you really should think about, do you like what you’re doing? Do you have passion for what you’re doing? How do you fill up your tank emotionally? And so for me, right? I feel like COVID reaffirmed for me that I’m doing the right thing, I’m in the right job at the right place. I feel like I really do make a difference and have impact on the people that I serve each and every day. I enjoy what I do and how I show up every day. And I think that the great realignment is about people thinking about where do they spend their time. You should spend your time in a place that you feel that feels you and has impact, because I think that’s going to make you feel more satisfied. We spend a lot of hours at work and you don’t want to spend all of those hours at work and not feel like you accomplished something, that you gain something, that you gave something to someone. And so I think the alignment is about how do you make sure that you’re gaining fulfillment for yourself and for others and showing up every day to the best that you can. And you’re going to show up best when you have passion for what you do.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:19.55] Agreed. Agreed. I want to ask you one more question before we, we leave for today. You talked a lot about your career and some of the work that you’re doing as an executive sponsor and mentor. I wanted to ask you, talk a little bit about coaching and mentoring and what that means to you and maybe for others that you’re coaching and mentoring.

Tamara Fields: [00:30:43.91] Yeah. So I mean, I think it’s exceptionally important. I would not be here in my career right now if I didn’t have mentors and sponsors along the way. So, you know, I had a really important sponsor early in my career. His name was Chuck Harris, and he, he just did it on his own without even thinking about it. He saw something in me and he, and he deposited a desire to help me get into leadership positions. And he brought me along with him. As he moved, I moved with him. And he really helped expand my career. He helped me understand what it means to bring, you know, bring others along with you on the journey. And when I think about mentoring, I have a mentor. Her name is Nellie Borrero. And just at every point in my career when I’m struggling with a path or a decision to make, when I’m feeling really down or dealing with my imposter syndrome, she’s shown up to help me rethink about how I think about my career and myself. And so I think mentors are important because sometimes we need to challenge our thinking. Sometimes our thinking isn’t as good as we think it is, and other perspectives will help us think about where we are, our career and our journey differently, to help us figure out the right actions to move forward. And I think for ourselves, you know, because it’s been so impactful for me personally, I feel an obligation and a responsibility to mentor others. I’m very intentional about that. I don’t take on everybody, but when I find someone that I think there’s a strong connection and alignment with and, you know, I seek and support to promote and to help them with the things that they’re facing and what they’re thinking about. And also, I would tell you, when mentorship, sometimes it’s just showing up and and listening to someone about what they have going on in their lives and not even always about career movement and development. So I think mentorship is about how you help someone improve and think about their situation. Sponsorship is about moving them up through their career. But I think both are very important.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:31.36] Well, I love it. And I will say that I have had some very important mentors in my life who have helped me grow as an HR leader and also as an entrepreneur. So they are really invaluable. And I love that you’re, you’re committing to, to giving back and helping others. I think that’s amazing.

Tamara Fields: [00:32:48.19] All we can do is help each other. And I think as we do that, we all get better one step at a time.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:53.56] Well, Tamara, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today. We’ll include your LinkedIn profile and I’ll also link to the Accenture careers page, too. If somebody is like, hey, this is the kind of leader I want to work for and work with, and a company that sounds like it’s the right place for me. You can go on over to Accenture and apply for some job opportunities. So thank you again, Tamara. I really appreciate your time.

Tamara Fields: [00:33:20.26] Thank you.

Closing: [00:33:21.46] I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this conversation with Tamara. Go back and listen to this podcast a second time. Hear the language, the things that Tamara is saying about business objectives and imperatives and what matters to her. This is critical and how we talk and collaborate, communicate, and just work with our executive teams. We have to speak their language and then spend a lot of time helping to communicate and them to understand the impact of HR can have to further grow that business. This is critical as we continue to support our organizations out of this pandemic and beyond. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to talk with Tamara on the podcast today, and thank you for joining the Workology Podcast, sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. This podcast right here is for the disruptive workplace leader in HR who is tired of the status quo. I know that’s you. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell, and until next time you can visit Workology.com to listen to all our previous Workology Podcast episodes.

Connect with Tamara Fields.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

 

– Tamara Fields on LinkedIn

– Episode 342: Changes in Hiring and the Workplace With Crystal Romero

– Episode 341: The Future of the Office With Peter Cappelli

– Episode 334: Talent Acquisition and DEI With Kristi Robinson From BARK

– Episode 333: The HR Job Market Is Hot! Resume Writing With Shennee Rutt

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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